Last night at the Works was all about video, with back-to-back screening of two very different works in experimental film.
The first, Alex Mackenzie The Wooden Lightbox: A Secret Art of Seeing presented by Portland avant garde film nonprofit Cinema Project was exactly what comes to mind when I hear the words "experimental film": A non-narrative, subtle, difficult-to-access piece filmed on Super 8. Flickering shots of dots moving across the screen, light changing on a human face, and a bird in a cage played across the screen set to a repetitive, meditative soundtrack of bass and dripping water. My friend in the next seat leaned over to me and said, "This is entertainment for stoners."
Yes, though I think the target audience is film nerds. Sadly, I was not enough of either last night to appreciate the work.
Next up was a piece by Miwa Matereyek that mixed animated video with live performance. The feeling among the audience was notably excited—when the doors opened to the auditorium, people rushed in and scrambled madly for seats, quickly filling the entire bottom floor of the theater.
Matereyek's animations are dreamy, playful, fantastic places: Lush ocean islands, bright and busy cities. As the animations project onto a screen placed on the stage, Matereyek stepped behind the stage, become a shadow puppet in her own video. The blend of beautiful, intricate scenes and the spontaneity of Matereyek's on-the-spot movements creates an entrancing performance.
Luckily, there's a video of the piece online! Not the same tension and presence as seeing the work, Myth and Infrastructure, in person but still a good taste.
Love. It. Matereyek's performance ended all too soon. As she took a bow, I kept hoping the lights would dim and she would get back behind the screen for another video. More! More!